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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Saturday 07 December 2019

UK Government halts fracking with immediate effect

The UK Government has halted fracking in England with immediate effect in a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists. According to a report in The Guardian, Ministers also warned shale gas companies they would not support future fracking projects, in a crushing blow to companies that had been hoping to capitalise on one of the new frontiers of growth in the fossil fuel industry. The decision draws a line under years of bitter opposition to the controversial extraction process in a major victory for green groups and local communities. The decision was taken after a new scientific study warned it was not possible to rule out ‘unacceptable’ consequences for those living near fracking sites. The report, undertaken by the Oil and Gas Authority, also warned it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger. The government said it would not agree to any future fracking ‘until compelling new evidence is provided’ that proves fracking could be safe. The UK’s only active fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire was brought to an immediate halt this summer after fracking triggered multiple earth tremors that breached the government’s earthquake limits. Andrea Leadsom, the Business and Energy Secretary, said the government has always been clear that shale gas exploration in the UK must be carried out safely. Tom Fyans, from CPRE, said: ‘This is a fantastic win for local democracy and everyone who cares about protecting the countryside from climate catastrophe and mass industrialisation.’